Helping you, and your identity, travel safely
Before You Leave
Scan important travel documents and store them in a secure online repository. In the event that your information is lost or stolen, using an online repository allows you to easily access copies of your passport, drivers license, visa, and any other vital identification from anywhere in the world. Remember to do this for every person travelling with you, including children.
Register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Visit https://step.state.gov/step/ to enroll in STEP, which provides comprehensive traveler information, including travel alerts and restrictions; information on visas or vaccinations; crime, stability and road conditions; laws of the country you’re visiting; and consular contact information.
Don’t pack your Social Security card. The same goes for any other cards you may routinely carry that contain your Social Security Number.
Take only what you need. Chances are that you will not be writing checks. Leave these and any extra debit cards or credit cards that you will not be using at home. This will decrease the amount of institutions you will need to contact if they are lost and decreases the damage criminals can wreak on your accounts.
Put mail on “postal hold” while you’re gone.
Go to your local post office or do it online at https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/
Make your home look lived-in. Arrange for friends or family you trust to pick-up newspapers, mail, and advertisement flyers in order to avoid drawing attention to your home. This will reduce the risk of break-ins which may result in the loss of valuables, including your identity.
While you are traveling
Carry valuables safely. Your valuables and identification are a mere swipe away from a pursesnatcher or pickpocket. Money belts kept under clothing are the safest. For stowing cash, credit cards and identification, inside pockets and sturdy shoulder bags with straps across the chest are much better than handbags, fanny packs or outside pockets.
Use the hotel safe. Place your cash, credit cards and especially your passport and all identification documents in the safe whenever they are not in use.
Take caution with public computers and Wi-Fi. If possible, avoid using public computers to access anything sensitive, such as conducting online banking, making purchases, or accessing email accounts. These computers could potentially have malware that is designed to capture the information you have entered. Avoid these same activities when using a public Wi-Fi connection as the information can easily be captured by criminals on the same connection. Make sure to use an encrypted Internet connection whenever you go online.
Be aware of social media updates. We all like to share photos online with our family and friends as we are traveling. However, when you tell people where you are, you are also telling them where you aren’t – at home. Criminals use this information to gain access to your home, which contains your valuables, including your identification.